I'm 3 years into owning my 97 Golf, having bought it with 24k miles, I can say that its the little things that drive you crazy. Now at 75k+, engine is still a tiger, it's zippy and fun to drive with enough pickup to blow off slow pokes on the highway - still, I'd be hard pressed to ever buy VW again - within a year of buying, seized power locks, dead rear wiper, no intermittant wiper up front. Many obnoxious little repairs and electrical bugs = Serious pain in the butt. Cute and utile, but doesnt hold up well here in the Upstate NY Arctic!
Cute, perky, distinctive, beats a Civic with it's Euro styling and sensibility, but you'd better care more about image than comfort.
Seats are wretched, suprisingly bad in the snow, door locks and wipers are nearly useless, lots of electrical gremlins.